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STATS: How Andy Murray has struggled Stateside but can’t be ruled out of US Open glory

by Aidan Elder | August 22, 2014

Andy Murray. Whether he’s British or Scottish, the UK is his home venue. Until the Scots get all Braveheart and vote in favour of the right to ruin things all on their own without the help of Westminster, at least. The UK is the place where he’ll feel most comfortable, where he’ll get the support of fanatical middle class housewives desperately projecting the missed aspirations of their own lives onto him.

But it hasn’t always looked like that. Kicking off with his surly and ridiculously overblown ‘anyone but England’ comments ahead of the 2006 World Cup, Andy has at times had a love/hate relationship with the British media and – by extension – public. Generally when things are going well, he’s the greatest thing to happen to the British middle class since Michael McIntyre’s comedy. The moment the form dips and he’s about as popular as anything shown on BBC3.

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Andy has spoken fondly of his time in the US previously. The less intense pressure may have a lot to do with it. Despite having a skin tone that starts to singe when he stands too close to a 40 watt bulb, he seems to like the freedom and pace of life in the US of A. Over there, he’s not the centre of attention carrying the weight of a nation’s expectations. He’s just another slightly grump Scot who looks a bit like Andy Murray.

Is the fondness borne out by the stats? Does Andy respond better when he’s on American soil and slightly removed from the intensity of the British media? The Paddy Power has taken a closer look at the stats.

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There are two ways to view this. One is to look at the overall picture with tells you he is more successful in the USA, but the other is to examine the trends year on year which tell a different story.

In short he has:

  • An overall win rate of 77.6% in all matches played in the USA
  • a 76.5% win rate in all his singles UK matches (excluding Davis Cup)
  • career win rates of 83% on grass and 77.5% on hard courts

Looking in greater detail is important because in this case, the numbers suggest that while playing Stateside was an advantage in the formative years of his professional career, its advantage has waned as Andy has matured.

There’s a certain logic to this. For a young man clearly not well versed in the media game, being away from the glare of a rabid British media looking for the man who would force them to end their suite of ‘since Fred Perry stats’ afforded him freedom. For the first four years on the professional tour, Murray’s results in the US comfortably outperformed his overall win rate and substantially outperformed his win rate in the UK.

Britain Miss

There are reasons to support this. In the early years, hard court was undoubtedly his preferred surface and that’s what invariably, he got over in the US. He has made notable improvements on grass, but in the early days, he wasn’t comfortable and with that generally being the surface of two of his UK tournaments, his win rate suffered. His overall rate was also dragged down by the sheer number of non-UK and non-USA events played on clay – his kryptonite of tennis surfaces.

2009 was the turning point. A maiden victory in the Queens Club Championship in London and run to the semi-finals of Wimbledon showed that he was happier on the turf and with a 83% win rate on grass, it is now statistically his preferred surface versus the 77.5% on hard courts. That has fueled a period in which his form in the UK has outperformed that in the US, Bucaroo-ing the trend of his early years on tour.

Changing State of Play

He seems to have learned to thrive with the support of the home crowd and in contrast, most of his recent wins have come in the UK (three tournament wins since v two in the US since 2012). That difference may be minimal, but considering how many more tournaments take place in the US, it’s notable. In fact, since his Miami Masters win in 2013, he’s failed to get beyond the quarter-final in any US tournaments.

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That’s not tremendously reassuring as attempts to regain the trophy that broke his major duck. But with Rafa Nadal ruled out and Roger Federer gradually declining – it makes it less competitive than many of his recent trips to Flushing Meadows. With his 8th seeding, it’s still some way sort of being a cakewalk, but his path to the final will certainly be littered with less multiple Grand Slam winners than he has had to contend with previously. If the seedings work out, his run from the 4th round onwards will be Tsonga, Djokovic, Wawrinka and finally the Fed Express.

It’s not beyond the realm of possibility. While it looks conclusive, all the stats really say is that Andy isn’t as all-conquering in the US as certain preconceptions may suggest. Also – the difference is very slight – normally just a couple of percentage points, enhanced to look more dramatic by the condensed scale of our graph.

Andy hasn’t hit his previous heights Stateside, but that would make a second major in the Big Apple all the sweeter.

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